Yesterday I made my way from Bayonne to 1-4-5 and St. Nick’s in Harlem (thank God for public transportation) where I met up with Ayman El-Sayed (aka “the Lebanese Ether”) and Nancy Mansour (aka “Harrabic Tubman”) the hosts of the radio show “Existence is Resistance”. We drove up to Damatrix Studios [link to studio web site] in the Bronx where each week Ayman and Nancy give us heavy doses of cultural and political resistance in the form of music and discussion of the situation in occupied Palestine and Southwest Asia. On a lighter note, they also expose the myth of “Israeli” food by prank calling “Middle Eastern” restaurants, as well as force guests to guess translated-into-Arabic song lyrics (I failed miserably here) just for a dollop of fun with your political hommous….all in all a great balance, as well as a great honor and privilege for me to appear as a guest on their show.
In a way it was like coming full circle; I had met Nancy’s sister Shadia [link to Youtube video] during Israeli Apartheid Week [link to posters from IAW] in a visit to the Bourj Al-Barajneh refugee camp in Beirut. Our collective Jamaa Al-Yad [link to JAY] had put together a workshop with youth from the camp, and Juan Fuentes [link to Juan’s work], an activist and artist from Oakland, was visiting with us. One of the most striking points of the workshop was when Juan started speaking of his life and work. As he brought up aspects of his life as a Mexican-American—his grandparents becoming de facto occupied “Americans” after the Mexican-American War; his life growing up spent in labor camps; the wall being built on the border; the inability to cross that border—it became obvious that this resonated viscerally with the Palestinian young people present.
As I have often stated, it is this kind of common cause that becomes vital to all those who have suffered displacement, dispossession, or disinheritance on any level. And so it was hugely appropriate along these lines for me to discuss adoption as an industry, as well as notions of return, foreign acculturation, and the political and economic parameters that link us all along these lines. Our studio manager for the show, Jason, even joined in, discussing his upcoming trip to South Korea (as the son of immigrants) and what that meant to him culturally and personally. It’s all connected, and my advice to those who are tired of the endless painted-into-corners arguments of “adoption reformists” and the misguided focus of adoption activism on individual psychology is to branch out, to reach out, to join the greater activism of those who similarly seek a sense of identity, who yearn for a cultural if not physical return “home”, whose very existence is resistance against a stifling status quo. I am ever grateful to Ayman and Nancy for this opportunity and platform.
I also highly recommend tuning into the show! You can check out their web site [link to site] or their Facebook page [link to page]. The show airs on Radio Beirut [link to site] on Monday nights, 6:00–8:00 p.m. bilad al-sham time which is 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. New York time. It’s time for solidarity! It’s time to proclaim: “Existence is Resistance”! Peace and blessings.